CARACAS, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA’s consolidated debt rose 15 percent in 2012 from the previous year to reach $40.0 billion, with the increase driven by bond issues used for government expenditures rather than investments in boosting crude output.
The majority of the $5.1 billion debt increase came from $4.1 billion in bonds sold primarily in private transactions with the central bank and other state-owned banks.
Those securities were mostly used to provide dollars to travelers and importers through a bond-swap mechanism linked to the country’s complex currency control system.
The bond issues also included locally denominated debt placements equivalent to $698 million used to pay for a government program to increase agricultural production.
PDVSA borrowed a $500 million from China Development Bank to finance the purchase of goods and services.
The company’s debt has soared over the last six years despite strong crude prices as it borrowed to finance leftist President Hugo Chavez’s social programs.
The company last year took the lead in a major home-building program that gave apartments to tens of thousands of families and is cited as a major factor in Chavez’s October re-election.